Ever crave a Sonic cherry limeade when you are at home? This quick recipe will satisfy your craving!
Cherry limeade is delicious, refreshing, and super simple to make! You only need a handful of ingredients and a few minutes to serve up this sweet-tart beverage. It’s even something the kids can make solo! Whip this up for weeknight dinners, to quench your thirst on a hot summer day, or any time it sounds good.
History of Limeade
Limeade was inspired by the Indian and Pakistani beverages nimbu paani and limbu pan, which remain popular today. There are countless ways to personalize nimbu paani and limbu pan recipes, but they are always made with water, lemon or lime, sugar, and herbs or spices.
Lemon and lime are refreshing, so limeade variations are popular in many warm and tropical climates, including Jamaica and Mexico. Some recipes call for flat water, while others use sparkling water, Sprite, 7UP, or ginger ale. The fastest and easiest version is to add fresh lime juice and your sweetener of choice to your preferred carbonated beverage.
Cherry limeade was made popular by the fast-food restaurant Sonic. Their limeade is legendary and may be what entices you through the door. With this recipe, there’s no need to go to Sonic, that is unless you are (understandably) craving their food too!
Cherry Limeade Ingredients and Shopping List
- Maraschino cherries—sweet and delicious to offset the tart limes.
- Maraschino cherry juice—use the juice from your jar or use cherry juice. You will need 2-4 tbsp of juice for each drink.
- Limes—half of a lime per serving.
- Sprite—for sweetness and carbonation.
- Ice—to ensure it’s chilled to perfection.
Supplies Needed to Make Limeade:
- Measuring spoons
- Cutting board
- Ice crusher
- Clear glasses
How to Crush Ice for an Ice-Cold Summer Limeade
For the full Sonic experience, the ice must be crushed! If your refrigerator doesn’t have a crushed ice feature, use one of the methods above.
- Zip-top bag—place your ice cubes in a zip-top bag, press out the air, and seal it. Then, use a rolling pin or heavy cup to crush the ice. You can crush your ice without a zip-top baggie, but it will make quite a mess.
- Blender—add 2 or 3 cups of ice to a blender with a tiny bit of water. Pulse until your ice is its desired size. Drain or strain the water and pour the ice into your glasses.
- Food processor—add 2 to 3 cups of ice to your food processor and pulse until you have crushed ice. You may need to crush your ice in batches.
- Crushed ice tray—did you know you can buy a crushed ice tray? It creates tiny even cubes that are perfect for cherry limeade, punch, ice tea, lemonade, and cocktails.
- Slushie—another option is to blend your ice, cherry juice, and sprite to create a slushie. Pulse to ensure it doesn’t overflow or get too blended.
Cherry Limeade FAQs + Pro-Tips
Can I Juice My Limes Instead?
If you prefer a more intense sweet-tart contrast, go ahead and fully juice your limes. Cut them in half and use a citrus juicer or cut them in quarters and squeeze them by hand directly into each cup.
Pro Tip—any time you need to juice a lemon or lime, roll it on the counter under your palm with a bit of pressure before you cut it in half. That will get the juices flowing and make it easier to squeeze.
Should I Use Maraschino Cherry Juice, Cherry Juice, or Cherry Concentrate?
This is entirely up to you! If you and your family make cherry limeade often, you will quickly run out of the maraschino cherry juice in the jar. If you are using juice from the jar, always make sure you leave enough to cover the remaining cherries. Otherwise, the cherries will dry out. You can also use cherry juice or cherry concentrate.
The reason this recipe calls for 2 to 4 tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice per drink, isn’t just for personal preference. Cherry juice has a stronger cherry flavor than maraschino juice, so you won’t need as much. The cherry concentrate has a very strong flavor, so you may only want a teaspoon or so per glass.
Do I Really Need a Straw?
You can certainly enjoy this drink without a straw, but since the ice is crushed, a straw makes it easier to drink. Otherwise, you or your family may have an accidental in-glass ice avalanche while drinking it!
Can I Infuse This Cherry Limeade?
Yes! Vodka goes best with this recipe, but you can also try gin, amaretto, or tequila. Just pour in a shot or so per glass.
How to Make Cherry Limeade at Home On Your Own
This recipe is designed as a nod to Sonic, but you can make it your own with the tips below.
- Garnish—garnish with limes, lime zest, mint, or more cherries.
- Flavor—add some freshly grated ginger or more fresh lime juice.
- Sprite swap—you can use 7UP, ginger ale, lime sparkling water, or plain sparkling water.
- Less sugar—using sparkling water, tonic water, or club soda reduces the sugar content.
- Cherry-free—feel free to make a more traditional limeade without cherries or cherry juice.
- Other flavors—instead of cherries use any Italian soda flavor that pairs well with lime, such as strawberry or raspberry.
Can I Make Cherry Limeade in Bulk?
Yes! If you will be hosting a crowd, feel free to double, triple, or quadruple this recipe. Pour it into individual cups or prepare it in a pitcher or punch bowl.
How Long Can You Keep Cherry Limeade?
This recipe is designed to be enjoyed within the hour. While it is still safe to drink for 2 days, the carbonation will fall flat within the next few hours.
More Delicious Drink Recipes
It’s easy to get so caught up in what to prepare to eat, that you forget what to drink. These drink recipes are that little something extra that everyone will enjoy.
- Strawberry Lemonade
- Mango Pineapple Lemonade
- Sweet Tea
- Watermelon Iced Tea
- Simple Fruit Punch
- Fruity Cocktail of Choice
- Maraschino Cherries
- Maraschino cherry juice either purchase a bottle of it or use the reserve from your cherry jar. You will need 2-4 tbsp of juice for each drink.
- 1/2 large large lime
- 1 cup Sprite
- 1/4 cup crushed ice
- Start by slicing your limes up into halves, then take each half and halve them again. Leaving you with 4 slices.
- Your cherry limeade will start with placing a slice of lime at the bottom of your cup and 1, 2, or 3 cherries at the bottom. If you are a cherry lover, the more the better!
- Fill your cup with 1/4 cup crushed ice and pour in 12 oz of Sprite.
- Next, pour in the cherry juice, but start with 2 tbsp of maraschino cherry juice. If you want more cherry flavor you may need 4 tbsp of cherry juice.
- Squeeze a slice of lime into the drink and carefully stir everything up. Garnish with a slice of lime and a couple of cherries.